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Monday, April 28, 2014

I've spent the last few months discouraged and embarrassed. emoticon It has been increasing apparent how important consistent logging and positive feedback is for me and how quickly I slip when I don’t maintain the constant vigilance on a healthy lifestyle. I’m starting to come to terms with it and also recognizing the boon that I receive from SparkPeople. I’ve received notes, comments and goodies from several of you over the last few months and although I didn’t acknowledge them at the time, they meant the world to me. emoticon They came at pivotal moments and have helped bring me back here today.

To explain why I am back, the lessons I’ve learned and the goals that I have set for the future, it may be helpful to start about 21 months ago. At that time, I had lost about 60 pounds and hoped to drop an additional 25 pounds. I had run a half marathon and overall felt great! SparkPeople was critical in getting me to that point. I made wonderful friends on this site and I loved celebrating their wins with them and sharing my wins as well. I decided to go back to school for a master’s degree while maintaining my full time employment as an engineer.

My retraction didn’t happen immediately or suddenly, but this was the point in time that I started making small decisions that over time accumulated to a large weight gain. First, I decided that I didn’t have time to be a co-leader in the 30 somethings with 50-99 lbs to lose team. I found a new leader who has really been a blessing to the team. That was a good decision for me at the time and not one that I regret making.

Subsequently I decided to not renew my gym membership. My employer provides membership to a gym, but it isn’t a very good gym. The equipment is often out of order and there aren’t enough working machines for most people. The gym that I purchased membership at has better machines, an indoor track and a lap pool. However, I decided that I would save money and just use the company sponsored gym. That was a bad decision for me personally. I think that purchasing a membership helped guilt me into using it regularly. I didn’t want the money to go to waste so I made sure that I went regularly. I found it a lot easier to come up with excuses not to go when I switched to the free gym. At one time I was religiously hitting the gym 6 days a week for at least 60 minutes a day. As school work increased, that dropped off to a few times a week or less.

Another bad decision that I made was to stop logging my food consumption on a daily basis. I had accustomed myself to eating healthy meals and it wasn’t a challenge to hit my calorie consumption target nearly every day. I had good habits and didn’t foresee any changes to those. I consciously decided to stop logging and didn’t think that it would have any affect. For quite a while it didn’t, but eventually the lack of accountability meant that I could slip here or there. Eventually my occasional slipping increased in frequency and now I’m back to eating poorly on a fairly regular basis.

Lastly, my sleep patterns have been in the toilet. I’m not sure how I could have maintained good sleep habits, but it is something that I look forward to reclaiming. Between a full time job and homework from a master’s program it was difficult to find adequate time for sleep. Graduation is Friday, emoticon so I’m hopeful that a regular sleep routine is back in my future.

Having recognized the bad decisions I made, I want to identify my weak areas and set goals to return to my previous level of healthy habits and avoid any relapses.
• Log into SparkPeople daily. I get a lot of energy and motivation from seeing and celebrating the successes of my friends. Get involved in team challenges. emoticon
• Track my food intake every day. This only takes 15 minutes or so, but assures that I am not slipping back into poor choices. emoticon
• Go to the gym daily. I’ve purchased a new gym membership and started back today. Hopefully the financial expense will keep me desiring to go regularly. emoticon
• Go to bed between 10:00 and 10:30 every night. emoticon

So I’m back. I’m slightly embarrassed at the ground I’ve lost, but I’m committed to start again. I’m blessed to have such wonderful spark friends and look forward to celebrating milestones with you all in the future!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD8889271
    Your blog helps me to feel more comfortable coming back to Spark after my own regression. (Saw that you shared this link on HollieWolley's blog.) Thank you for sharing.

    I also thrive on the positive reinforcement - giving it to others, and having my own small, everyday successes celebrated. Reading those thoughts on your blog was an "aha!" moment for me - it clicked that this is probably why Spark was so successful for me in the past.

    I lost ground in a similar way. Life just snuck up on me after my son's first few months of life.

    Also - happy graduation!!!!!!!!!!!!
    2178 days ago
    I am so glad to see you back on here! I just got back on myself, and I remembered all your supportive comments and was sad you hadn't logged in in quite a while!
    2219 days ago
    I can relate! I had hit goal weight, ran 5 half marathons, done 2 triathlons, etc. But, I stopped tracking & I had an injury & I stopped signing up for races & stopped logging on SP...

    I ended up regaining more than 2/3rds of the weight I'd lost & I got to the point where I only worked out occasionally.

    I started a 100 day challenge 65 days ago... to work out at least 10 minutes every day. Since I'm blogging about it here on SP, I'm now back on SP every day & getting that vital community that helped me so much before! I have yet to miss a day of working out! (On my 'rest days', I do some light yoga.)

    I tried to start tracking food again a few times but only lasted 2-3 days. But, I tracked 5 days in a row last week! And am back on track today! The scale is finally starting to move & I am now 1/3rd towards my goal again!

    You CAN do it. Life has been busy & we have to learn how to cope with that. But, it sounds like you've really figured out what went wrong & what you need to do.

    Congrats on your graduation, too!!!
    2258 days ago
    Welcome back! I see you've already tracked some exercise, so you're on the right track.
    2258 days ago
    It happens to the best of us. You know what? We can always start over, no matter if we gained back 5 pounds or everything we lost and then some! I know you have good habits and they just need to be reinforced/reintroduced to you. I'll admit, when I stopped tracking, I gained back 5, then I got a hold of myself and maintained it for over a year. I still had more to lose, but it was fine for me at maintaining. Then real stress happened and I gained enough to be at "only 40 lost", so here I am tracking, not in the tracker, but in pictures. It's helping a lot and I'm back down to 50 lost.

    So, even if we slip a little, we can get right back on track. emoticon
    2259 days ago
    I didn't know you before, but just wanted to say you can do it! Good luck!
    2259 days ago
  • no profile photo CD9543726
    It is SO good to see you! I can completely understand working full time and going to grad school as making this other part difficult. It's like two fulltime jobs and then throw a family in as well?? Who has time for this? So glad you're back now though. It's good to see you. You'll see those old numbers again before you know it. :)
    2259 days ago
    2259 days ago
    emoticon I felt like I was reading a page out of my own journal. The wonderful thing about spark is that you're never going thru any of it alone. You"re on the right track again and there's lots of us here to cheer you on! emoticon
    2259 days ago
    Welcome Back!!!!! Getting back on track is challenging but you are on the right path! emoticon emoticon
    2259 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.